Do you have a love life that's a roller coaster at best and a total snooze-fest at worst? You could just have a string of crappy partners, but you could be guilty of love life sabotage in ways you're not aware of.
We're often our own worst enemies. It's fine when we realize it, because at least we can take steps to fix things. But when we don't know we are sabotaging our own relationships, we can go deep into bad relationships and make big mistakes. Or, we can never get past ourselves long enough to even enter relationships.
Maybe it stems from past hurt. Trust issues. Low self-esteem. There are tons of reasons why we self-sabotage our relationships. Realizing we're doing it is step one. Getting to the root of why we are doing it and changing our behaviors, either alone or with a therapist, is the way to move past it.
As a former Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, relationships were my life for years. You might be surprised to know how common self-sabotage is in relationships, especially the ones with the potential to be really happy. If you do any of thee things, it might be time to take a look at why, and to evaluate whether you're the one standing in the way of your relationship happiness. Not that you need a relationship to be happy.
1. You Don't Let People In
You can't be an island unto yourself if you want to be in a relationship. People say you can't help who you fall in love with, but that's not true for everyone. Some people have the ability to lock down their feelings and to keep people at a distance. Even if you're not afraid to be emotional, you could still keep a large part of yourself secret. If you never let your partner in, it's only a matter of time until things go bad.
2. You Don't Trust
Al of the ways people have abused your trust in the past have nothing to do with your partner, so you have to understand that it's not really fair to your partner if you distrust them by default. You also can't constantly ask where your partner is going, who they're talking to and if they're cheating on you. You can absolutely take time to get to know and trust someone, but you can't have a healthy or long-lasting relationship without trust.
3. You Don't Have High Self-Esteem
Your self-esteem and the way you feel about yourself, treat yourself, and talk about yourself is absolutely critical to a relationship. If you don't have high self-esteem, you don't ask for or expect the kind of treatment you deserve. It can also make you guarded, or having you looking for security and stability in all the wrong places. Working on yourself should be top priority, even if you're not looking for a relationship.
4. You Don't Have Realistic Expectations
Do you automatically think the person you went on one date with is going to break your heart? Or do you think they're going to be your knight in shining armor? Do you expect big romantic gestures for your birthday when you haven't communicated about what you want? Sometimes we get in our own way with unrealistic expectations, so we have an excuse when things go wrong. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy that's totally unfair to your partner. Better to go slow and see how things go, and to communicate what you want.
5. You Don't Communicate
Communication is another one of the pillars of a healthy relationship. If something is on your mind, you have to learn how to communicate it to your partner in a healthy way. Otherwise, you're just going to build up a well of resentments. When you want something, when you disagree with something, and even when you're just having a bad day, you need to be able to tell that to your partner. Not communicating is a quick way to sabotage things.
6. You're A Jerk
Are you ever just mean to your partner sometimes and you don't really understand why? Are you argumentative, short, distant, or snappy? Maybe the reason why is insecurity, and you're self-sabotaging your relationship. If you're mean enough, they will eave you before you can leave them or before things go bad. Before you snap, if you can, take some time to think about what you're really angry about. Then remember that your partner deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
7. You Avoid Conflict
Fighting for no reason and being mean is bad, but avoiding conflict altogether is just as bad when it comes to self-sabotaging your relationships. You have to learn to resolve conflict in every single relationship. Conflict is scary, but remember that it doesn't have to mean arguments or break-ups. It can just mean a heated discussion that resolves a problem and actually makes things better. Some people need help from a therapist to learn to handle conflict successfully.
8. You Overthink
Every time your partner texts you, do you read it a hundred times to see what the real, hidden meaning might be? Do you wonder what they're doing when you're not together, to the point of worry? Do you worry about your hypothetical children even though you haven't been together long enough to even think about having kids? Overthinking is a coping mechanism sometimes for avoiding your real feelings with thoughts you manufacture. Better instead to spend those thoughts on your own insecurities and how to manage them.
9. You're Married To Your Bestie
Who doesn't wish they could marry their bestie? But unfortunately, there is a line. Sometimes you have to prioritize your relationship over your friendship and have that quality one-on-one time. Plus, it probably doesn't help that all you do is talk about how awesome your bestie is and how you wish your bestie was there. Actually, are you sure you don't want to date your bestie? Because that's OK.
Now that you know better, you can do better. And have I mentioned that I'm in total support of a world where we all marry our besties?